Obesity is not just about being overweight. Health experts define obesity as an excess of body fat. This excessive weight condition should not be merely treated lightly as a cosmetic problem. Scientific evidence has linked excessive weight to a number of debilitating and fatal disease. Here are some known health risks of obesity.
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Heart disease and stroke
Obesity has been long associated with heart disease. A risk factor for coronary heart disease is high cholesterol. When too much LDL-cholesterol (commonly known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol) is in the blood, this leads to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries.
The build-up of fatty deposits can result in a block in the blood vessel. When this happens in the heart, it is known as a heart attack. The disrupted blood flow causes the death of heart muscles. Likewise, when this happens in the brain, it is known as a stroke. The disrupted blood flow causes damage to the brain cells.
Diabetes Type 2 and obesity have sometimes been dubbed as ‘the twin disease’, due to the fact that approximately 80% of people suffering from diabetes are also obese.
If you are obese, statistics show that you are 5 times more likely to develop diabetes than a person with average weight.
Do note that hypertension, stroke and heart disease are also very closely linked to diabetes.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure stresses the heart because it has to pump more forcefully than normal to force blood into the arteries against the higher pressure.
A person with BMI of 30 and above is 2 times more likely to have high blood pressure.
Excess weight has been associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancers. These cancers include cancers of the colon, esophagus and kidney, in both men and women.
In women, breast, ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer risk all increase with excess body weight. As for overweight postmenopausal women, they have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Obesity is one of the culprits of creating a fatty liver. Too much fat in the liver can lead to inflammation of the liver, and resulting in multiple liver problems such as cirrhosis and liver damage.
Gout is a form of arthritis characterized by a sharp pain and inflammation of a joint (especially the big toe), with swelling, warmth and redness around the affected area. This is due to increased level of uric acid in the body. Gout is strongly associated with obesity.
Many overweight people suffer from this condition, whereby breathing stops during sleep for 10 seconds or more, sometimes more than 300 times a night. As this affects a person’s sleep quality, it can cause the person to experience sleepiness or fatigue during the day.
Other obesity-related medical conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease, urinary stress incontinence, pancreatitis and infertility.